You’re pro-life? Hey, me too! When I saw an earthworm drowning in a puddle, I scooped it up with a leaf and gently laid it down on some grass. When I see people fishing, I turn away because the idea of a fish losing his (or her) life makes me sad. I think of all its fish friends wondering where he (or she) went. I don’t want anyone to suffer, even the cockroaches I have my husband kill because I’m so afraid of them. (I always feel terrible afterward.) And, I’m so fucking pro-life I care about actual human girls’ and women’s lives, their feelings, their bodies, their futures. Their choices.
To be honest, “pro-lifers” (i.e., anti-abortionists, anti-choicers if we’re being honest), I don’t really think you are pro-life. I don’t even think you’re pro-baby. Your warm and fuzzy interest seems embryonic, in every sense of the word. Your caring evaporates the minute the fetus enters the world. When the cord is cut, you cut yours. Your knitted brows and sad, pouty faces turn back toward other women’s lives and bodies and away from the baby you’d only minutes earlier were intent on “saving.” Is any of the energy you spend shaming women or pre-mourning the unborn channeled toward worrying about the babies once they’re born? Are you delivering diapers to poor mothers? Do you vote for candidates who support prenatal care, pre-K schooling, childcare? Because your political choices suggest you do not. In fact, you choose candidates who put babies in cages at the border, defame welfare mothers, and poor people whose futures are diminished by children they can’t afford or care for adequately.
If it were just that your virtue-signaling belied a complete lack of interest in actual human beings’ lives, we could just agree to disagree and call it a day. I’ve met your kind before. In a high school restroom, Christine Campbell called me an n-word lover. Let’s just say a physical altercation ensued. I was brought to the principal’s office to be put on suspension. This would affect my grades, my ability to graduate, but no matter. I was the villain, the bad girl who got angry. I had the effrontery to feel rage when a bigot insulted my friends, defiled an entire race. Christine was a peppy, popular cheerleader, a chirpy blonde with sparkling interpersonal skills. Underneath her shiny yellow peel was a dark, mushy banana of a heart, but that didn’t matter. Her pretense at being “nice” was a royal flush that easily beats my sullen two-pair.
I bet young Justice Amy Coney Barrett was a lot like Chris. She braided her Tracy Flick-like ambition with a hi-test Christianity. (Look Daddy, I’m a smart girl! I’m a good girl!) She studied late into the night, furiously scribbling notes in law class, dotting her I’s with hearts. Her religious fervor focused not on building homes for the poor, but on things like abortion, school prayer, the right to bear arms. (You know, things about which Jesus could not have given the slightest fuck.) She’s a successful judge who still has time to attend the church’s rummage sale. She compliments your shoes in the gym locker room; “I hope I can get them in my size.” She’s a serious jurist who dots all her I’s with hearts. And now she’s a shiny yellow banana Christian who’s fine with swearing on the Bible and calmly lying to Congress. What does she think of Trump? “Gee, you know, he’s charming,” she dots her i. “He might be a lying, racist rapist, but he’s not some selfish 16-year-girl who wants to slaughter her sweet lil zygote.” (She then makes that wide-eyed pouty, perky face. How do they do that?)
Do she and Justice Alito lunch together? Do they swap stories about law professors, country clubs, precedents set by Matthew Hale, the witch-burning nutcase Alito uses to buttress his arguments in his draft opinion? Do they tsk-tsk together about the self-centered women and girls, with the unfeminine arrogance to want to own their bodies and lives? Do they ever talk to girls and women who’ve had abortions? Like my friend who now has twins because she had an abortion. Or the woman who couldn’t afford to be pregnant, much less be a mother? Do they sit down and listen to the woman who didn’t want to carry the baby of her abuser, or the 12-year-old who doesn’t want a year of her life given over to carrying and birthing her uncle’s baby?
Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why there can be no exceptions in case of rape or incest. If you say you’re against “killing babies” — except go ahead and kill them if it wasn’t ‘your fault you got pregnant’ — well, you pretty much tip your hand. I get it, you really have to say no abortions across the board. And then you have to own the draconian, truly cruel policy you embrace.
So, if your political choices and social behavior demonstrate that you really don’t give a shit about children once they take their first breath, why is being anti-abortion, “I’m fine running, maybe ruining, the lives of millions of women and children” the hill you want to die on? I’ve come up with a couple of reasons:
Millions of Americans dread the Court’s latest Dred Scott, many of us terrified for ourselves, our friends, our daughters and their daughters. This is the first time the Supreme Court will make a decision that takes rights away from American citizens. Many Republicans salivate at how this decision can let states take away marriage rights, gay rights, contraception. Louisiana stands ready to make women who get abortions held for murder. Indiana Senator Mike Braun posited that the legality of interracial marriage should be left up to the states. (HE sounds fun!) We gird our loins (perhaps literally) for a fight. What anti-abortionists should realize is that abortions will never end, they will just become tremendously unsafe. The deaths and mutilations of women will leave them with blood on their hands.
Why does my opinion matter? While my ovulation days are way behind me, I don’t want to see women’s lives upended, ruined, controlled. Not having dominion over your own body — what goes into it, what comes out of it — is the stuff of nightmarish Twilight Zones, and possibly prescient best-sellers and miniseries. Everyone knows someone(s) who’s had an abortion, whether they know it or not. Reproductive choices are all around us, and they always will be. Those choices are hard. No one is skipping, tossing daisy petals hither and thither, as they tra-la-la their way to their nearest friendly abortion provider. I exist because my birth mother was afraid to get a back-alley abortion. I live because I have free will, I make choices, I have some agency over my own life’s trajectory, my own body. If you’re anti-abortion and think I should thank you for your efforts because I’m alive, I can only say my life is more important to me than my existence. And I need that life to be my own, not yours to monitor, control or punish. Without any autonomy, you’re not giving me anything valuable. You’re just giving something to yourself. (See list above.)
You’re not fooling anyone. Your apathy, misogyny, cruelty and total disregard for real people’s lives and feelings may be wrapped up all yellow and slick, but we see that yucky brown mulch underneath the surface.
Dixie Laite has been a second-grade teacher and mechanical bull operator, and for the past 25 years she’s worked for a variety of TV networks as a writer, editorial director, trainer, advice columnist, even an on-air personality. But primarily she’s trotted around New York City in one cowboy shirt or another, lurking around flea markets, gyms, and anywhere they’ll hand her French toast. Currently she lounges around her apartment with one husband, one dog, five parrots, and roughly 2,000 pairs of shoes. Dixie is the main lady behind Age Against the Machine, a column about empowering women over 50. Sign up for the Jumble & Flowdown newsletter to stay in the know about Dixie’s latest columns.
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